State Roundup: Union Seeks $80M From N.Y. For Health Aides' Insurance

Health policy news centers around the legislatures in various states.

The Wall Street Journal: Union Seeks New Bailout In Budget Deal
As Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers lurch toward a budget deal, the state's largest health-care union is asking Albany for another bailout of its troubled insurance fund. The union, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, is asking the state for $80 million more in Medicaid dollars so it can keep on providing health insurance to personal-care aides (Gershman, 3/21).

Kansas Health Institute News: Committee Approves Using HMO Tax To Pay For Newborn Screenings
The House Appropriations Committee today approved a bill that would use an existing tax on health maintenance organizations to pay for the state's newborn screening program. The program tests infants for 29 metabolic and health disorders to help catch them early and prevent disability or death (Cauthon, 3/21).

Kansas Health Institute News: House Endorses Bill Requiring Insurance Coverage Of Autism Disorders
House BIll 2764, as amended during the floor debate, also would require autism coverage by the state's HealtWave program. HealthWave covers children in the Kansas Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance programs. Estimated cost of the HealthWave provision was about $26 million, with about $12 million of that coming from the State General Fund. The balance would be covered by federal Medicaid dollars (Shields, 3/21). 

Georgia Health News: Not All Health Bills Draw Controversy
Pulse oximetry is a test to help detect congenital heart defects in newborns by measuring how much oxygen is in their blood. A proposal for Georgia to study the efficacy of this screening was approved by a Senate health committee Wednesday. ... The cost of such testing would be roughly $4 per child,[ Dr. Cyrus Samai,] said. "It's cheap, easy and readily available,"’ he said (Miller, 3/21). 

WBUR's CommonHealth blog: Book: 'Great Experiment' Of Mass. Reform Should Not Go National
In Democrat-dominated, famously liberal Massachusetts, the Pioneer Institute is a downright dissident voice. [Its] arguments often challenge the state's party line. Such as, for example, that Massachusetts reform is such a clear success that it can serve as a model for the rest of the country. The Pioneer Institute... has just come out with a book: "The Great Experiment: the States, the Feds and Your Healthcare" (Goldberg, 3/21). 

HealthyCal: Survey: Californians Concerned About Rising Health Costs
[M]any report delaying care because of its cost. But only one in four has asked for pricing information before getting care and nearly half don’t know how much their insurance deductible is. The findings are from a survey by the California Healthcare Foundation. Other findings: In spite of rising health care costs, most report flat premium rates and stable benefits (3/21). 

Denver Post: Report: Colorado Grows Lazy About Fat; Chances Of Funding New Help Are Thin
The health status of many Coloradans is weighed down by expanding obesity challenges, with bleak prospects for public spending to attack the problems, according to a top foundation's annual "health report card." In the Colorado Health Foundation's five measures of overall citizen wellness, one reading fell, another rose slightly and three stayed flat from the year before, foundation researchers said (Booth, 3/22).

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